Is There a Thing Called “Knitter’s Elbow?”

IMG_3480I’m entering week four … WEEK FOUR … of not knitting. Nearly four weeks of not knitting is a huge punishment for me. I always knit; every day! Even on those days that I teach all day I go home and knit.

This started at my fiber arts retreat (aka camp). I started to feel a pull in my left elbow but because I was at camp, I just kept knitting. When I got home on August 4th, I began my “rest” from knitting expecting a quick healing since it was a short time that it “hurt”. Well, here we are, three weeks and a little bit more later. And I still can’t knit.

What’s a knitter to do when she can’t knit?

IMG_3502 I bought a little bit of linen fabric at the Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine a few weeks ago. I also bought some needles and some DMC floss in six or seven different colors and an embroidery hoop. With my Making Magazine, “Color” issue in hand, I cut the fabric and started stitching. I’m making a project bag. It’s not knitting but it’s better than nothing! And it will be useful when I get back to knitting sometime soon.

I’ve been to pick blueberries (with my right hand!) and bought some peaches. I’ve made blueberry “Afternoon Cake” (two of them) and blueberry muffins. The recipe is in another Making Magazine “Dots”. I even made a peach pie with almost all of the four pounds of peaches. It was delicious! DH and I made blueberry ice cream, too … it goes very well with peach pie! And we’ve been getting pounds and pounds of squash both zucchini and summer from our CSA half-share. There are zucchini bread muffins and loaves in the freezer. So many frozen baked goods that we may need to buy a stand alone freezer!

 

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And today I finished my first Christmas gift. I can’t tell you what it is or who it’s for or I’d have to kill you (not really, but you know what I mean!) But suffice it to say that it’s a sewn and quilted gift for a very special person. It was the messiest project ever and I took it to a laundromat to wash and dry before I could put it into my machine to finish the drying process. It still filled up my lint thingy with lots of tiny pieces of thread. But I’m happy with the end result. Now it just needs a tag and some photographs taken. I’ll show more pictures after Christmas!

I’ve also read three books! I posted (here) about A Stash of One’s Own by Clara Parkes that I finished and was very moved by. I also finished my book club book The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn which I loved. I couldn’t put it down. Since I’m not knitting, I read it in record time. And I just finished The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg. That’s THREE books this month! You can tell I’m not knitting!

Next project is … oh, sorry, I can’t tell you that either!

 

Addition by Subtraction Lit-a-long

 

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Charcoal and White are dark and light. Gray speckle is blender. Gold is “pop” of color!

Several of us at the Yardgoods Center are working on the Addition by Subtraction Lit-a-long by TryStitchual Designs. This is an intriguing and unique MKAL (mystery knit along) as far as I am aware. There is a wonderfully funny and clever mystery story that accompanies a MKAL.

The MKAL requires that you start with four yarns. Fingering weight. One in a light color, one in a dark, the third unifies the two colors and the fourth is a pop of color. I used two stashed yarns that I bought last summer at the Maine Fiber Frolic and two new yarns that I bought at the shop.

Chapter One – I really love garter stitch. This garter stitch section uses all four colors and is broken up by three columns of stitches with twisted stitches on the edges and a knit or purl stitch in the center. There are also short row wedges in the “pop” color. At one side is an i-cord edge (see below) and an edge that contains a regular yarn over sequence of stitches.

IMG_2769The i-cord edge hides the yarns as they are carried up the side of the garment. It’s a brilliant idea! I’ll admit to having a bit of a challenge getting the i-cord edge started, but I figured it out in a couple of rows! There is a TON of knitting in this chapter! Phew!

I was almost finished with this when Chapter Two was released.

Chapter Two – I’m starting this a little bit behind and so I “rushed” to finish chapter one and get chapter two started. Chapter two uses three colors. The “pop” has been cut and set aside for this section. We are heading on with a slip stitch section between sections of alternating three-color garter stitch. This was a challenging start because I was following the written instructions rather than the charted instructions. I found out that the chart was the better way to go and had no trouble after the third row. I love this section and it makes me happy to see how interesting it is.

Chapter two also has a lot of knitting.

I am hardly half-way through Chapter two when Chapter three is released. No way I was going to catch up on this week … I had a shawl to knit as a store sample for the Maine Yarn Cruise that takes place beginning on Memorial Day weekend. Oh well. As I tell my students, “knitting is not a race”, time for this teacher to take a dose of her own medicine!

Chapter Three – This section is called the Illusion Section and as such, the knitting looks like an illusion. I think this may be my favorite section yet. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like this and it’s fascinating!

Once again a color (this time the speckled “blender” colorway) has been cut and we are now working with two colors only. The two colors remaining, light and dark, are alternated in pairs of rows. The second of which alternates between knit and purl stitches. It’s fantastic!

When I was ready to start chapter three, the clue for chapter four had already been released so I am now a full week behind! I’m laughing at myself for keeping track.

IMG_2938Chapter Four – OK, this chapter was released and I hadn’t even begun the previous one. I am telling you, there is a lot of knitting each week. If you work at a job or are a stay-at-home parent, or do anything but knit, you will not have been able to keep up with this MKAL! I  am a relatively quick knitter and I’m waaaaaay behind!

Chapter four is a lace section. Both sides of the section are the same (it’s reversible!) and the i-cord and yarn over ends are still going on as through the whole project. The lace section is very simple and very graphic (I think that’s the term) … it’s not lacey lace, it’s squared off and linear. I’ve just now gotten to begin it and I think it’ll be a good addition to the shawl. I’m getting closer and closer with each row and each decrease. It’s repetitive enough that I can remember this section’s pattern so I don’t have to count every stitch and watch the graph too closely.

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A stitch is dropped at the end of each section … creating a “line” parallel to the i-cord edge.

Did I mention that at the end of each chapter, a stitch has been dropped?

The stitch between the columns of twisted stitches is dropped after Chapter One. A second is dropped after Chapter Two. I happen to like dropping stitches and seeing how that changes the look of the stitches. There’s one more stitch to drop at the end of section four. With twisted stitches on either side, the dropped stitch is “controlled”. I am eager to finish and block this baby!

Having gotten this far writing about this project, I wanted to let you know that there is an Epilogue. Yes, there is! The epilogue seems to consist of an i-cord that is about 84 inches long that is woven through the yarn over side of the shawl. The pattern wants the i-cord to be in color C which for my shawl is the gold color or the “pop” that was only in the first chapter. Yippee! I was hoping that color would come back!

I’ll update you when I have finished and blocked the shawl!

Gone Knitting!

 

You can find out more about my knitting projects on Ravelry. I’m “lindar” on Ravelry!

Every Day Should be Earth Day

It’s finally a beautiful sunny Sunday in Maine. I’ve had a long week at the Yarn shop and I am sitting outside with two of the three dogs, my knitting, and watching my husband build a birdbath with a thousand pound (or so) hunk of granite. A marvelous day to spend outside in the sunshine with our little family. Lola has decided to stay inside. Too many scary things outside that she can’t control. Ha! Ha!

We were taking in the last week about trash. Consuming stuff that leaves behind trash. Packaging, plastic, food scraps, stuff. We like our stuff. We take it to the beach, on vacation in the car, to the theater, we take stuff everywhere. And often we leave it there. That, in the olden days was called being a litter bug. (Does anybody remember the commercial, “please, please, don’t be a litter bug ‘cuz every litter bit hurts”?)

We live on a lake. We have snowmobilers and ice fishermen (and women) in the winter and all sorts of fisher-people and boaters in the other months. And every season we find their stuff in our lake and on the shores. We have found dead animals (yes, really!), garbage, balls, clothing and even human waste. It’s gross. Not to mention polluting. It threatens the clarity of our lake water. The noise can be deafening, too; Radios blaring, vehicles and boats with noisy engines/mufflers that zoom by. Beer cans and bottles.

We all have a responsibility to care for this precious planet that we call home. For our own sake and for the sake of our children and grandchildren. As a good Girl Scout, I learned to stay on the path and to carry in/carry out. My parents taught me to clean up after myself and leave the place better than I found it. I try to make that happen everywhere I go. We pick up trash on the beach. On walks in the woods. When we are out on our boat. We recycle. We bring our own bags when we shop. We bring bags for our trash when we travel and we find trash containers at the beach.

If we all do our part, maybe we can leave a healthy vibrant planet Earth for generations to come. Celebrate each day as Earth Day. We only get one chance. I’m stepping off my soapbox now.

Gone knitting.

Sweater Weather!

IMG_2703It’s April 15 today and it’s winter again. Today was not blue skies and sunny. We had snow flurries, a little sleet, a mixed bag of yuck! It’s truly sweater weather!

IMG_2706I’ve been drooling over some sock yarn by On the Round. On the Round is a Maine yarn and is hand-dyed in Owls Head, Maine. Rachel has been knitting since she was seven and she home schools her children … and dyes yarn in her “spare” time! Busy lady! Anyway, I finally decided to buy a hank of Silver Lining Tweed in Signature Sock and I am so glad I did. I haven’t knit socks in a little while and it felt like I was sitting with an old friend as I cast on and worked down the cuff of my sock. I always (almost always) use the Yankee Knitter pattern, Classic Socks for the Family and I am using it this time. I nearly know it by heart (always need help when I am turning the heel). I’m a happy camper …

IMG_2710I’m also working on my Malabrigo Rios sweater using the Knitting Pure and Simple Neck Down Cardigan for Women pattern. I didn’t get the right gauge of 16 stitches over four inches with this yarn. Probably because the Rios is more a light worsted. So, with my gauge of 17.5 stitches over four inches (4.375 stitches per inch), I’ve decided to make a size larger so that I have some positive ease. I love the colorway that I chose. It’s a blue and a grey at the same time. It’s tonal and I love it! I haven’t had an easy start with this sweater, though. I noticed, just as I was about to separate the sleeves, that I was a couple of stitches short on one side of the front. And I SAW that the reason why I was a couple of stitches short was because I hadn’t increased on one side of the marker. It was the one side that was front and center of course. I decided relatively quickly that I was not going to be happy with it and had to rip it back and fix it. It set me back a bit, but it was totally worth it. I am so excited to wear this sweater!

IMG_2709I have also cast on a shawl using my yarn from the sheep at Bedlam Farm. Mine is a sport weight from Susie and another sheep. It’s a lovely grayish brown. I had a customer at the shop who needed help with her shawl and it was pretty and simple. I like pretty and simple because it lets the yarn shine. So, I cast on the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief and I pick it up now and then when I want to knit something simple. It’s going to be pretty! I think this shawl will be used to do some good. Stay tuned.

IMG_2688At home, we have begun the process of rebuilding our boat house. The original boat house was re-built around 1950 and then a “garage” with a dirt floor was added after that. The foundation of the building is in remarkably good shape so we are simply rebuilding the same building so that my husband can move his workshop into the garage part and we can turn the existing workshop (the white building at right), we hope, into a two-car garage in the future. This week we are hoping to see the roof joists and roof go up. It’s very exciting.

IMG_2601Our family thrives! All five kids are working hard and make us very proud. Youngest, Amy, made my blueberry muffins this weekend and they looked wonderful. A great first attempt.

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photo by Jenny Anderson

Oldest, Kate, opened in Mean Girls on Broadway last weekend. This is a big deal for her and she has worked so hard to get here. She’s a star and it seems that she’s stealing the show! We look forward to seeing the show in a few weeks and hope to see all the kids and their significant others here this summer.

Life is good!

Gone knitting.

(Find more information about my knitting projects on my Ravelry project page. My Ravelry name is lindar.)

Queen Bee’s Injured Wing

beewingI may have an injured wing but I’m still knitting!

My right shoulder has been hurting for a while now. I have done everything I know to help it but when I can’t put on a shirt/jacket/coat without a problem and I can’t take off my bra without pain, that’s the last straw. Thursday after work I went to a massage therapist for a deep tissue massage and it has helped. I have some bruising … I asked her to use the full force of her skills against the knots in my shoulder, arm, and anything else that was “tight”. So, this week I am recovering and working on stretching the muscles and opening my chest muscles. Good news is that I can put on my deodorant but I have a long way to go.

I’m working on a couple of projects. Sample socks for the adult education class that I am teaching this spring. The class is “Socks 101”. We’ll be knitting our first socks in a worsted weight yarn. Preparing to move to smaller needles and finer yarn. I’m knitting my samples in Plymouth Encore Worsted in a very pale yellow. Light yarn reveals the stitch details for my students.

IMG_2447I have nearly finished a 1898 Hat for my dear husband and valentine. I’m knitting it in Malabrigo Rios in the Piedras colorway. It will match his scarf that I made last year. He works outside (in Maine, in the winter, in all kinds of weather) and the doubled garter brim of this hat ought to keep his ears warm! This yarn is absolutely amazing and I hope he’ll love it as much as I love him. He takes such good  care of me. I can’t imagine life without him.

IMG_2388I have a scarf on the needles, too. I’ve been wanting to knit the Zick Zack Scarf for a long time. We have a sample in the shop that I have always liked and chose to do it in the “original” colorway. I’ve gotten half-way through the project and find it monotonous at best. The pattern is the same row throughout and it’s even repeated across the rows. But the color changes in the Lang Mille Colori Baby yarn is exquisite and I love the way it looks. I’ll keep plugging because it’s really bee-utiful.

I finished one of the pair of my Forget Not Mitts. This is a kit put out by the Alpaca Yarn Company. I chose a kit with a kiwi green and a variegated purple/pink/green. I love the colors and the yarn is really nice work with but there isn’t enough contrast between the two yarn colors and as a result, the argyle pattern on the front of the mitt isn’t particularly clear. I love the broken rib and the 1×1 vertical stripe but I am bummed about the argyle. Oh well. The second one won’t take too long to finish and they’ll keep my hands or someone else’s warm in the spring or fall.

I have been plugging along on my Camden Hills Poncho and if I was to sit and focus on it for one day, I’d have it finished. I’m working on the back of the poncho and am nearly to the shoulder decreases and neck. I’ll get it done but have to finish hubby’s hat first … Valentine’s Day is the day after tomorrow.

I bought all the yarn for a fair isle yoked cardigan. I’ll be knitting my Ellen Cardigan in Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca. The main color will be navy blue. I’ll write more about it later. I have also lined up a couple of other sweaters. A green wool using Ella Rae Classic Wool for my husband and something wonderful for me in Malabrigo’s Rios. I am thinking a boxy pullover for this one. More about each of these as I get the first projects finished up!

Details of all of these projects and more are available on my Ravelry project pages. My Ravelry name is Lindar.

Gone Knitting.

1898 Hat – A different construction

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1898 Hat in Cascade Eco Duo

The 1898 Hat by Kristine Byrnes is a free pattern on Ravelry. We sell a lot of yarn for them at my LYS, Yardgoods Center in Waterville, Maine. It may help that we have a great sample, in hat and headband form, right near the cash register!

I’ve been in Maine now for three winters. Winters are cold here. Hats are a must for my husband, in particular, because he has no hair. I almost always wear a coat with a hood which is enough for me but I have been known to wear a hat, too. All of this is to say that I am shocked that I haven’t knitted this hat before now.

A few weeks ago, a woman came into the shop when I was working and she wanted to have someone knit a 1898 hat for her out of some lovely Cascade Eco Duo alpaca yarn that she had bought. I’ve never seen this hat in alpaca before. I offered to knit it for her. When I called her to have her come pick it up, she asked me to make another in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride.

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1898 Hat in Lamb’s Pride Worsted

Both hats are wonderful. The alpaca was so soft and the Lamb’s Pride Worsted is so squishy. AND the knit was fun for me, too!

IMG_2313The headband is knit flat in garter stitch with increases for the ear flaps. It has a provisional cast on – I used a crochet cast on. It’s knit in garter stitch on either side of three slipped stitches on the wrong side (they’re knit on the right side) which makes it fold in half to make the headband double thickness and really, really warm! You graft the ends of the headband together with Kitchener Stitch (if you do it properly it’s completely invisible!) and then pick up the stitches from both sides of the headband to make the rest of the hat in the round like any “normal” hat.

One hank/skein/ball of worsted weight yarn worked for each hat. I KNOW my sweet hubby needs one of these hats. He works outside. In Maine. In the winter. It’s really, really cold. He has no hair. Did I mention that he has no hair?

Gone Knitting!

 

 

Power-less

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A BIG wind came through Maine and New England last weekend. Some places reported 75 mph wind gusts. We didn’t have nearly that type of wind but we did experience 20+ mph sustained winds from directly across the lake. Wind and rain belted our house!

If you haven’t heard, there were half a million homes in Maine without power following the storm. Ours was one of them. Thankfully, we have a generator that we can pull out of the garage and plug into the house. And, thankfully, we needed to take my little dog to my brother in Massachusetts to have his teeth cleaned … so we missed two and a half days of being without power.  Thankfully, it hasn’t been cold for all those in the state who don’t have generators! Thankfully, most of the state has been restored. We are still powerless.

This afternoon, our internet came back on. Yippee! This is progress. My darling husband has gone out for more gasoline for the generator. Central Maine Power had said that we’d have power restored last night by 10pm. They’re now saying 8pm tonight. I’m hoping they’re right! We’ve been lucky and I’m so grateful that I have had water, television and lights.

And I have yarn! Gone knitting!